Why I’m a Sucker for Colored Glass!

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If you have been following me for a while, you’re probably noticing a pattern in the things I like. For example, I’m a blue person. I just LOVE blue. However, as I’ve grown older I have endorsed a wide palette of colors, because they are so powerful, but mostly charismatic. Their impact on us is SO deep, sometimes deeper than we realize. And thus, I admit that I have a “hard time” at first accepting a “colorless” design scheme request from a client. But my remedy to that is colored glass! Oh yes, pops of colored glass can balance things out and make everything appear as a seamless design statement in a most brilliant way.

High rise building in London with colored glass panels on its facade. Image by Velvet.

As a student at university, glass was not one of my favorite building materials. I was into concrete and steel. I reckoned that if I’m going to design something, I might as well make it strong and durable. It was much later in my professional career that I began to appreciate the qualities of glass.

It’s smooth, transparent yet, not colorless and I began to notice it everywhere. And I mean everywhere…the most mesmerizing building facades are made with glass. How could I overlook that! Then there were glass railings and balustrades that began to appear in one building after the other. Everywhere and anywhere there was at least something made of glass acting as a huge reminder that I owed it more credit than I cared to give.

A collage of glass facades.
Various glass facades. Notice the reflections in some.

Fastforward…I got married and when I had to pick a coffee table I ended up picking a square black glass table with a black metal truss underneath (my engineering discipline has a hold on me sometimes). To top it up, I chose the same dining table!!! YES, I did! And the wildest thing? I haven’t regretted it for one sec. It looks amazing in my open floor space and I know that they were the best choices ever!!

But hey, what ever happened to my snobbish attitude towards glass? Well, basically it’s gone out the glass window!! LOL!! You see, I realized how great it looks as a building material and how stunning it can be as a decor object. It’s an all-round material suitable for just about anything; it’s almost the perfect material.

I came to realize how wrong it was of me to exclude such a diverse, material with all-that-mighty potential. It turns out that glass gives me the most exquisite “solutions” to various design hick-ups! It’s also a fact that whenever, designers “run-out” of solutions then they know that they can always rely on glass and its uniqueness.

Shelves stacked with colored glasses in various sizes, colors and shapes and other various porcelain-ware.
Part of own little colored glass collection.

Therefore, it is of no surprise that my list of glass objects of desire keeps growing. For instance, my favorite glass tumblers that my mom once had (and happily passed down to me) are this malted whiskey color glass. Since then, I added to my collection ice-cream bowls, wine, champagne, and liqueur glasses…all colored glasses of course!

Colored glass is even more special, because of its color attributes. (You may also want to read about color combinations). It maintains its quality of transparency, but with a punch. This is because it combines both reflection and color! So, imagine the impact of color combined with glass’ potential! It’s simply awesome and that’s what I want to share with you in this post. Hence, it’s no wonder that it popped up repeatedly at Milan’s Design Week as reported by Dezeen.

Various Usages

Glass Panels (…as a building material)

Colored glass as a building material is usually a composite type of safety glass. That means that it consists of two or more layers with an inter-layer that holds them together even when broken.

Colored glass panels used on the facade of a building. Image by Velvet.
Colored glass panels used on the facade of a building. Image taken from inside looking out. (Image by author).

So, say you have an open floor plan space, but somewhere amidst you want to designate a very special area. You want that area to stand out for a specific reason, essentially cutting it off from the rest of the activities that might go on in the remaining space without the use of ordinary walls. The use of colored glass panels would be the most brilliant way to go about it.

And that’s exactly what they did at the headquarter offices of Tuango in Montreal, Canada. A colored glass cube was made with orange glass paneling that signified the meeting room. Furthermore, they situated the meeting room in a spot where it is highly visible from outdoors, thus making their logo stand out – all thanks to colored glass. Two birds with one stone sort of speaking!

Hourglasses made of colored glass used as decor, from ZARA. Image by Velvet.
Hourglasses made of colored glass. (Image by author).

Glass Furniture and Decor Objects (…as a decor element)

Designers over the years have experimented with glass furniture. They have created ethereal objects that are breathtaking including coffee, side, and dining tables, sideboards, and armchairs…even if they’re not the most comfortable. They are beautiful design elements that add a dazzling sophistication to an interior.

Partial view of a colored glass table and a black chair.
Jean Philippe del Berghe on Unsplash.

Therefore, it did not surprise me that glass furniture appeared once more this year at Milan’s Salone del Mobile Satellite section captivating the fair’s visitors. I don’t know for sure if this trend will grow any stronger, but I’m pretty sure that it will never subside either. An accent glass furnishing is just the thing we need for an eclectic interior, now and always.

Murano glass decor. Image snapped at Salone del Mobile 2019 in Milan by Velvet.
Murano glass decor as seen at Salone del Mobile 2019 in Milan. (Image by author).

Glass decor objects have been around for a really long time. As a matter of fact a lot longer than furniture. Murano’s glass objects are probably the best known of their kind worldwide for ages. Murano’s island in Venice became the center of a glass blowing tradition that ages many centuries back. It was the leading glass industry and if I may say so, I believe they still produce the best quality of glassware using the same old techniques.

A blue glass martini side table from Audenza midst various plants and decorative planters. Image via Audenza.
Audenza. Blue glass Martini side table.

Owning a Murano decor object is highly esteemed in Europe (I don’t know about elsewhere), especially since each piece is handmade and therefore, a unique art object. Naturally, just like any form of art (whether it is photo print, an oil or acrylics painting etc) it is a personal styling statement.

Murano vases from Venini on a mirror surface. Image by Velvet.
Murano vases from Venini. (Image by author).

…as Lighting

Is it possible to amplify the effect of colored glass? Yes, it is if we add some light to it! Ceiling lighting for example made with Murano glass is probably one of the most sought after Murano decor items. Murano glass chandeliers date back to the 1700’s. The tradition remains the same, but the new artisans make also wonderful contemporary lighting that’s well worth looking into if you can afford it. (They do have though, some affordable pendant lights). In any case, glass lighting even if it’s not Murano glass is still so pretty…

Colored glass table lamps as seen at Milan's Salone del Mobile 2019. Image by Velvet.
Colored glass table lamps as seen at Milan’s Salone del Mobile 2019. (Image by author).

The great thing about colored glass lighting is how they look when illuminated. They transform the ambiance in a room in the most fantastic way. So, they definitely brighten everything up including our mood. (Follow this link for more about lights).

A word about the lesson learned…

Colored glass is a material that I didn’t appreciate enough at first. That was clearly my mistake. But as I grow older and learned to appreciate the details, the colors, the scents, and value all those things that make my heart race faster I have also realized that everyone and anyone can make design statements every day with the littlest of things. Even a humble material like glass can resonate hard our affection for design in a most sincere way. It can’t fail us.

If I hold a party for example, I use my colored glasses. Firstly because they make me happy. Also because they show a little bit about my design consciousness. So just give in to its charm like I did and let me know of your favorite glass objects…a vase, a pitcher, a tealight holder.

Tell me how you use colored glass. At the end of the day, we have nothing to lose. By introducing/using decor objects like that and taking the time to come up with a design scheme we will only promote a better quality of living while showcasing our inspiring style! Let’s love our home…

Yours truly,

Velvet signature

Last update: 11/06/19

  • If you go to places like London,they have started to build housing developments and apartments with coloured glass. It's actually starting to become the norm!

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